For many business owners, one of the main ways they evaluate a vendor (like a CPA firm) is a cost-benefit analysis. How much do you pay for CPA services, and how much money does the firm help you save?
What are some of the signs that you’re in a good place in your relationship? Ask yourself the following questions.
1. Does your CPA want your business to succeed?
Your CPA should be invested in the success of your business. After all, that’s why you’ve hired them in the first place. This should be evident throughout your conversations, your strategy sessions, and in their general actions. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’re bothering them if you ask questions. It shouldn’t be an inconvenience if you ask them to set a meeting or a phone call.
2. Does your CPA hold you accountable to your goals?
At the beginning of the year, you probably set some business goals with your CPA. While it sounds like a great New Year’s resolution, your CPA partner should do more than just pay lip service to goals. How often do you check in on goals? Do your everyday financial decisions follow the plan you set up? And if not, do you have a course correction?
3. Does your CPA go above and beyond for you?
You want more than an accountant who does only what’s spelled out in your contract. Are you getting updates on best practices in your industry? What about new methods for streamlining expenses, payroll or filing?
4. Does your CPA have strong communication skills?
It’s a cliche that your accountant is a shy, reserved individual who is a whiz with numbers but stumbles with words. It’s a professional business that’s very people-focused, and your accountant should easily be able to communicate with you. You shouldn’t have to hunt them down to have a conversation.
5. Does your CPA know more than you?
A business relationship with someone who has very little experience can be challenging and extremely frustrating. It’s important that you are equal partners. You shouldn’t be bringing all of the information to your accountant. Especially when it comes to your industry and best practices, you don’t want to hear the words “I didn’t know that” from your CPA.
6. Does your CPA have a good track record?
It might seem like it goes without saying, but you should always contact references with a CPA. It’s more than just having the designation behind the name — you want someone experienced, smart and looking out for your best interests. Moreover, you want someone who’s worked in your industry before, to help you with tax strategy. You don’t want someone who is hiring out tasks to others. How can they understand your business without analyzing it firsthand?